SANAA (Dispatches) - Yemen's Houthi Ansarullah movement said on Tuesday it would release vessels it had captured if they prove to be South Korean, after it seized a rig being towed by a Saudi tugboat in the southern Red Sea.
South Korea's foreign ministry said a Korean dredger had been seized on Sunday evening, along with a Korean tugboat and a Saudi tugboat. It said 16 sailors including two South Koreans had been detained.
The Saudi-led coalition fighting against the Houthis said the seized vessels included a Korean drilling rig and the Saudi tug, the Rabigh 3, which was captured by Houthi fighters who attacked from two boats.
The incident is the latest at sea around Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of Arab states fighting against the Houthis who control the capital and most population centers.
Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a senior Houthi official told Reuters the group's forces had seized a "suspect vessel" in the Red Sea and said the crew were being treated well.
"Yemeni coast guards ... are checking to see whether (the vessel) belongs to the countries of aggression or to South Korea, in which case it will be released after completing legal procedures," he said.
The dredger and the Korean tugboat were allegedly owned by South Korean builder Woongjin Development.